Introduction: Automatic Waterer for Crickets or Roaches
I have a large number of reptiles and invertebrates that I've collected over the years. When I realized how much I was spending on crickets I decided to breed my own feeders.
There are several options to provide water for the insects, none of which I really liked:
1. Vegetables (such as potatoes or carrots)
Including the amount that was going to waste because it wasn't used up fast enough, these ended up costing more than half the cost of the crickets.
2. Water gel
The ones from the pet store were crazy expensive. These are also sold in garden shops at a much lower price, but I have concerns that the non-toxic polyacrylamide that it's made of could depolymerize into toxic acrylamide. I've not ready anything that conclusively shows that this happens, but since I'd be indirectly feeding it to my pets I'd rather not take any chances.
3. Water dish with gravel or paper towels
This is just a mess, and the water has to be changed quite frequently. I did use a variation on this: I got some waterers used for quail. This worked great until the water was knocked over and flooded my enclosure.
So I wanted something that was non-toxic, non-messy, and didn't have to be changed every day. I was buying candles one day (prepping for a hurricane) and came across some oil lamps. It gave me the idea to make a waterer that would draw water from a reservoir through a wick. I came up with a simple solution.
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
All you need is a container, something to use as a wick, and a drill.
I used a dollar-store food container for the reservoir, and a cotton washcloth for the wick. I don't know if the material matters, but I used 100% cotton.
Step 2: Drill a Hole in the Lid
Drill a hole in the lid just large enough for the wick to fit through. I used a 1/2" bit. If the lid isn't flush against the surface you're drilling on, you'll want to put a piece of wood underneath so it doesn't crack like mine did. If you're using a soft plastic container like a margarine tub, you could probably just use a razor knife to cut it.
Step 3: Trim the Wick to Size
Trim the wick so that it will reach the bottom of the reservoir. I didn't need the entire washcloth, so I cut off a strip the size I needed. I neglected to take a picture of this step, but you're smart enough to figure it out.
Step 4: Scuff the Sides
My roaches can't climb smooth surfaces so I scuffed the sides with some 80 grit sandpaper.
Step 5: Assemble
Place the wick though the hole in the lid, fill with water and replace the lid. That's it! It might take a few minutes for the wick to completely saturate with water. That's it!